Two SC schools part of St John well­be­ing pro­gramme pi­lot

The Timaru Herald - - News - Joanne Holden

‘‘It has come at the right time with Covid, as chil­dren had some anx­i­ety and were feel­ing stressed.’’ Gle­navy deputy prin­ci­pal and teacher Ge­orgie Dobbs

Prep­ping for high school, fam­ily breakups, and Covid-19 are among the stresses faced by New Zealand’s young peo­ple, South Can­ter­bury teach­ers say.

‘‘There is a grow­ing need for chil­dren to learn about well­ness, and there is a lot go­ing on in schools to pro­mote it,’’ Ocean­view Heights se­nior teacher Jan­ice Carter said.

Ti­maru’s Ocean­view Heights and the Wai­mate Dis­trict’s Gle­navy School are two of six pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate schools across New Zealand to trial the St John Weav­ing Well­be­ing Wha¯tuia te Waiora pro­gramme over term 3, with both wrap­ping up the 10-week course dur­ing Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week this week.

Carter said the pro­gramme helped her class, made up of 27 year 6-8 pupils, de­velop strate­gies to cope with pu­berty, the im­pend­ing move from pri­mary to se­condary school, ‘‘fa­mil­ial changes’’, and the ‘‘cur­rent cli­mate’’ cre­ated by Covid-19.

‘‘The only cer­tainty in life change,’’ Carter said.

The pro­gramme had also taught pupils how to be re­silient and where their strengths lay, she said.

‘‘I think this pro­gramme would be good for se­nior classes as well.

‘‘I am grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to take part in the pi­lot.’’

Gle­navy deputy prin­ci­pal and teacher Ge­orgie Dobbs, whose class also took part in the pro­gramme, said the pupils found it ‘‘very valu­able’’.

‘‘They had to think about strate­gies to build their te whare is tapa wha¯ (phys­i­cal, men­tal, spir­i­tual, and fam­ily well­be­ing).

‘‘The chil­dren got a lot from it,’’ Dobbs said.

‘‘It has come at the right time with Covid, as chil­dren had some anx­i­ety and were feel­ing stressed.’’

Gle­navy prin­ci­pal Kate Mans­field said that be­cause many of the pupils came from dairy­ing fam­i­lies, their gen­eral well­be­ing did not suf­fer dur­ing lock­down be­cause they had plenty of space and ac­tiv­i­ties to keep them oc­cu­pied.

‘‘How­ever, aca­dem­i­cally, we have found Covid has caused dif­fi­cul­ties with learn­ing,’’ Mans­field said.

‘‘Chil­dren were wor­ried or anx­ious about go­ing in and out of lock­down. This has given them skills or strate­gies about how to cope with that, what to do in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.’’

Dobbs said 27 of the school’s year 6-8 pupils had taken part in the pro­gramme.

‘‘They are from our peer me­di­a­tion group and have been able to take these calm­ing tech­niques into the play­ground to help other chil­dren.’’

Both South Can­ter­bury schools praised the pro­gramme’s fa­cil­i­ta­tor,

Sasha Frame, with Carter de­scrib­ing her as ‘‘ter­rific’’.

A St John spokesman said the pi­lot pro­gramme had been rolled out to six schools in Auck­land, Taranaki, South Can­ter­bury and South­land. ‘‘Cur­rently, St John does not have the fund­ing to pro­vide the pro­gramme to more schools across New Zealand. How­ever, we would love to roll out the pro­gramme na­tion­ally in the near fu­ture.’’ Ocean­view Heights and Gle­navy were picked be­cause the char­ity’s ed­u­ca­tors had a good re­la­tion­ship with the schools, the spokesman said.


Mo­lia To­ga­gae, 10, and Akan­sha Nadan, 12, with some of the work they have been do­ing at the 10-week St John Weav­ing Well­be­ing pi­lot pro­gramme.

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